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E. coli Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on E. coli News & Outbreaks

Eight Tons of Hamburger Recalled Over E. coli Fears

Tyson Fresh Meats, a Dakota City, Neb., establishment, is recalling approximately 16,000 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The ground beef items were produced on May 16, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

5 lb. chubs of “80% Lean Ground Beef.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 245C” inside the USDA mark of inspection and a “best before or freeze by” date of June 5, 2015. These products were shipped to one distribution location in New York.

FSIS discovered the problem during a routine sampling program. Neither FSIS nor the company received any reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may have been sold and stored in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

South Carolina Child Dies of E. coli

Two South Carolina schools are taking precautions after a toddler died from complications associated with E. coli, and officials have confirmed that a sibling of one of the toddler attends one of the schools.

Myles Mayfield, 2, of Greenwood, died Sunday night at Greenville Memorial Hospital from medical complications associated with E.coli, coroner Sonny Cox said. Myles died from hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition associated with E. coli that can lead to kidney failure.

On Monday, Greenwood District 50 officials informed parents and guardians of Springfield Elementary School students in Greenwood that DHEC was investigating a possible Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection at the school, according to the district website. The school posted information on its website and social media and made robocalls to parents. Springfield officials learned of the possible infection on Monday after dismissal, so the letter could not be sent out until Tuesday.

Investigators have not yet said how Learning Vine Child Development Center is connected to the toddler’s death, but it appears Myles attended the development center.

Lynden E. coli Outbreak Update

Investigation Summary:

The Whatcom County Health Department in Bellingham is investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections. The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are assisting with the investigation.

Disease investigators are now calculating case counts based on lab-confirmed infection with E. coli 0157:H7 and physician-diagnosed cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The official case count will be adjusted regularly as the investigation proceeds.

Twenty-five people are confirmed cases.  Nine of these confirmed cases are considered secondary cases (the ill person didn’t go to the event but had close contact with someone who did attend).

  • No one has died.
  • Ten people have been hospitalized.
  • Four people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
  • Illnesses in several other people are under investigation.
  • Four of 10 areas sampled produced results that match (indistinguishable from) the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak strain.

All of the ill people attended the Milk Makers Fest between April 21 and 23 at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden; helped with the event between April 20 and 24; or were close contacts of ill people associated with the event. Most of the ill people are children, including older children who helped with the event. More than 1,000 primary school children from all school districts in Whatcom County attended the event on these days.

Whatcom County Health Department is working with community health care providers to identify cases, and interviewing patients and their parents to investigate the source of the outbreak. The source investigation involves collecting information from interviews as well as from clinical and environmental laboratory tests. A common source or sources has not been determined. Health officials expect that it will take several weeks to collect and analyze the information. Even if a common source is not found, potential risk factors will be identified, which will provide information that may reduce the risk of an outbreak in the future.

Advice to the Public:

People who attended the Milk Makers Fest, or have close contact with someone ill who did, and have signs or symptoms of E. coli infection should see a doctor. People usually get sick from E. coli 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the germ (organism). Only people who have symptoms should see a doctor in relation to this outbreak.

Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps, and most people recover within a week.
Some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
HUS can occur in people of any age, but is most common in young children under five, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.Symptoms of HUS can include fever; abdominal pain; pale skin tone; fatigue and irritability; small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth; and decreased urination. People who have these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately. o Antibiotics and antidiarrheal medicines should not be given unless E. coli is ruled out, since they may increase the risk of HUS in people with E. coli infections.

The outbreak appears to be over; however, the investigation into the source of the infections is ongoing. Secondary cases (people who become ill after contact with a person with E. coli infection) may be reported.

Washington’s ZYK Enterprises Recalls E. coli Tainted Beef

ZYK Enterprises, Inc. a Duvall, WA establishment, is recalling 2,522 pounds of boneless veal trim and whole veal muscle cut products that may be contaminated with  E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following boneless veal trim and whole veal muscle cuts produced from January 2-23, 2015, are subject to recall:

60 lb. bulk boxes of boneless veal trim with a package produced date of January 5, 2015.
60 lb. bulk boxes of boneless veal trim with a package produced date of January 20, 2015.
Various size bulk boxes ranging from 22 to 63 lb. of boneless veal trim and whole muscle cuts with multiple package dates from January 2-8 through January 23, 2015.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 9325” inside the USDA mark of inspection on the boxes.

The problem was discovered by FSIS personnel while reviewing records following a positive test for E. coli O157:H7 on May 15, 2015.  A subsequent review of test records indicated that the company failed to report positive tests on January 6, 2015 and January 20, 2015. Product from these lots was shipped for further processing to wholesale establishments in California, Massachusetts, and Washington state.

Whatcom County Milk Makers Fest E. coli Outbreak Hits 45 – 8 Hospitalized

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin – producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 – 4/23/15. Over a thousand primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill. WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock. Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is
assisting with the outbreak investigation.

Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 20 probable cases ** Change since last report of 5/2/15: no new cases, +1 probable cases, no new hospitalizations *Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs. ** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

E. coli Hits 41 at Whatcom Milk Makers Fest

E-COLI-300x200The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 –4/23/15.

Over a thousand primary school children from all of the school districts in Whatcom County attended the event. Most of the cases involve children who attended the event. Several older children involved with the event and some adults and close contacts of cases have also become ill.

WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation.

Cumulative total: 22 cases* (7 cases have been hospitalized), 19 probable cases **

*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs. ** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

Whatcom County E. coli Outbreak Grows

ecoli-bacteria-300x208The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is investigating an outbreak of shiga toxin – producing E. coli O157 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden on 4/21 –4/23/15.

WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

Washington State Department of Health Communicable Disease Epidemiology is assisting with the outbreak investigation. Cumulative total: 18 cases* (5 cases have been hospitalized), 18 probable cases ** Change since last report 4/30/15: +1 case, +3 probable cases, 1 new hospitalization.

*Cases include those with positive labs (preliminary presumptive positive O157 and final confirmed positives), and clinical cases with close contact with a case with positive or presumptive positive labs.

** Probable cases are cases with clinical symptoms and were associated with the event, but lab results are not available or labs were not done.

Clarification from previous reports: the state public health lab is testing confirmed E. coli O157 isolates for serogroup (to determine if O157:H7 or another related serogroup).

Preliminary positive O157 isolates are regrown and have further testing done at a commercial lab to confirm O157. We expect to get the first results of serogroup testing from the state public health lab early next week.

Another E. coli Outbreak in Washington

According to the Bellingham Herald – of the 32 cases traced to the festival:

  • 17 have been confirmed by the state’s public health lab or tested positive at local labs — or were people with E. coli symptoms who had been in close contact with someone in the first two groups.
  • 15 additional people had been at the festival and were sick but lab results, some of which were pending, weren’t available yet.
  • 4 have been hospitalized.

We have been retained by several of the families, including one child who has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) continues to investigate an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 associated with the Milk Makers Fest that was held at the Northwest Fairgrounds in Lynden Washington on 4/21 – 4/23/15. WCHD is continuing to interview cases to determine if there was a common food or water source or activity, such as the petting zoo or other contact with livestock.

It is certainly not like we have not seen this before:

For more information on the risks of zoonotic exposures, see Fair Safety Dot Com.

E. coli Linked to Hamburger

Skyline Provisions, Inc., a Harvey, Ill., establishment, is recalling 1,029 pounds of beef products contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Produced between April 15-25, 2015, the following products are subject to recall:

17 ½ boxes of Aurora Packers Intact Beef Round Flats

On April 15, 2015, Skyline sold the product under their D&S label (Establishment number: 19300), ground and tested one and a half cases of the product. On April 21, 2015, these products were found positive for E. coli O157:H7. The remaining intact, products were sold to Jack & Pat’s Old Fashioned Market in Chicago Ridge, Ill., where the product was ground and sold in various amounts of ground chuck patties, ground chuck, ground round, sirloin patties and porter house patties.

FSIS discovered the problem during a routine sampling program. Neither FSIS nor the company received any reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product. FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may have been sold and stored in consumers’ freezers.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2–8 days (3–4 days, on average) after exposure the organism. While most people recover within a week, some develop a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This condition can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5-years old and older adults. It is marked by easy bruising, pallor, and decreased urine output. Persons who experience these symptoms should seek emergency medical care immediately.

As Many as 18 with E. coli Linked to Silliman School in Louisiana

Food Safety News reported yesterday that Louisiana’s Silliman Institute students may well be part of an E. coli outbreak. Silliman sent students home last Friday, March 27, resumed classes Monday, March 30, and then called it quits until Monday, April 6.

“There is an outbreak of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) in a school in Region 2 and it is being investigated,” Ashley Lewis, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, told Food Safety News.

“As the investigation progresses, the Department continues to take all necessary preventive measures to protect public health,” Lewis noted, adding, “Louisiana law prohibits the disclosure of the content of epidemiological investigations except to the institutions concerned. The Department would also clarify that any decisions related to facility closure have been made by the facilities themselves.”

The first child sickened in the Louisiana outbreak, a girl, was reportedly hospitalized with the kidney disease known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS. The second child, also hospitalized but without HUS, was not being held in a pediatric intensive care unit and was likely going to avoid kidney dialysis.

Today the Department of Health and Hospitals told WBRZ as many as 18 students are exhibiting symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. The department is testing the cases for E. coli or norovirus. At least one case has been tentatively identified as E. coli. Symptoms began Sunday and have hospitalized some of the ill students. The state is investigating what made them sick, but said it does not appear to be in the water or in the food at school.